Sofia Flores is used to be the new kid in school. Since her mother is an Army medic they move frequently and now they’ve landed in Friend, Mississippi. She’s shocked when the most popular girl in school, Riley, takes her under her wing. Even better, a sweet, good looking boy named Charlie takes interest in her. What could go wrong? Unfortunately plenty. Riley, along with her two minions Alexis and Grace have decided that a former member of their group Brooklyn is possessed and needs their “help”. Will Sofia be able to prevent a tragedy, or will she play whatever game it takes to be popular? So, first the cover. Loved it! I mean it’s pink with an upside down pentagram and crucifix. Brilliant design! I also liked the plot. It was kind of Mean Girls/The Craft meets the Exorcist. It also kept me guessing throughout most of the book about whether or not Brooklyn was really a demon. The best part of the book was the ending which truly lived up to the promised “twist”. I finished it in two hours because I couldn’t put it down. My poor husband would wander into the room wanting to talk and I couldn’t even look up. I just kept waving him out. The violence is extremely explicit but I’m a Stephen King fan so except for an incident with a cat near the beginning this wasn’t an issue for me. So, what was the problem? Really weak and unlikeable characters. Riley is a religious psychotic and Grace and Alexis are her sheep. Sofia does nothing but wring her hands and remain undecided about whose side she’s on. And then there’s the attraction between her and Charlie. I believe there can be love at first sight, but the way this was written just didn’t work for me. It seemed as though the author or her editor thought “Oh! YA fiction. Must throw a romance in there.” There are several loose threads. Like what exactly were the circumstances behind Sofia’s grandmother’s stroke and why is her mother so anti-religion? Are they connected to what happened at Sofia’s previous school? There’s a bunch of things that are thrown in or alluded to and then dropped. This may be because this is the first book in a series. I’m not sure. I will say that despite the fact that it drove me a little crazy at times, I’m intrigued enough that I want to read the next book. And yes. There’s already a movie in the works. By the people behind Pretty Little Liars no less.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney – Hyperion I just read the preview of the first chapter in the conclusion to this fantastic series. It’s told from the POV of Leesha, but from the summary it looks like it’ll be mainly Emma and Jonah’s story with all the characters from the previous books making appearances. If you haven’t read this series and you like Harry Potter & Percy Jackson you will love these books! Each one focuses on a different character(s), but they’re all part of the same plot. The Heir Chronicles basically tell the story of the Weir, a magical underground society existing in today’s world. The Weir are made up of different guilds which don’t exactly see eye to eye. The books are full of adventure and if you haven’t tried them I highly recommend them. If you are already a fan, this last book looks like it’ll be an entertaining and satisfying conclusion. The release date is 10/21. Here are the rest of the Heir Chronicles in order.
I thought I was finished with vampire books at least for awhile until I picked up Rising Tide and it immediately sucked me in. 16 year old Maura has never been part of the popular clique at school. Add to this a missing father who her emotionally distant mother refuses to tell her about, and a severe aversion to sunlight that makes her physically sick, Maura (Mink) should be miserable, but she makes the best of things. Now suddenly her mother Caelyn announces they’re moving to from their home in Pennsylvania to Vancouver and Maura couldn’t be happier. Less sun and a chance to remake herself? What’s not to be happy about? But as moving day approaches, she suddenly not only attracts the perfect boyfriend, but also kids who want to be friends with her. Unfortunately this comes along with strange physical changes that her mother persists in ignoring. What is the mystery behind all this, and should Maura start a relationship with someone she may never see again? Obviously the reader knows a lot of what’s going on with Maura. But Claudette puts enough twists in the storyline to still keep you guessing. She has a beautiful, smooth way of writing that keeps you entranced, which is probably why I finished this in one day. Maura is a wonderful heroine who is sweet, courageous, and loyal without being annoying. Her protectiveness towards her mother is incredible given that she doesn’t get much in return. YAs will relate to this book with it’s themes of relationships and bullying. It does end with a cliffhanger, so the second book can’t come out soon enough!
Poor Skylar Reid. First her overprotective mother uproots her from her Connecticut home and all of her friends, but then she settles them in Florida where it’s a little tough to make new friends when most residents are seventy-five and older. To make matters worse, on her first day of school another girl attempts to kill her while saying she’s doing her a favor. Not a good start for Sky. Fortunately this book is an excellent teaser for Suzanne and her daughter Melanie’s first YA series. It’s tied into the same slightly futuristic world as Suzanne’s adult book, Born Into Darkness but you don’t necessarily have to read that first (although it’s fantastic). Sky and her friends however will deal with some of the same problems as the their adult counterparts: superpowers, people who are addicted to an illegal drug which gives them powers, makes them crazy, etc… Dangerous Destiny is actually a prequel and also includes a chapter from the upcoming book Night Sky so it’s like getting two gifts in one. It also has a great Q & A with the authors which is both informative and funny. From reading this book (which is out Tues. 8/26), I think this is going to be a thrilling and funny new series. The full length novel, Night Sky, will be released on Oct. 7th.
So, you want to be the next J.K. Rowling, or Suzanne Collins? This book is not the magic wand you probably wish you had. Instead it’s a solid, helpful guide for beginning writers like me. It not only helps you with the mechanics of writing such as punctuation ( my personal weakness ), and the proper use of adjectives and adverbs, but it also includes more general areas such as plot, character, and theme development. Ms Brooks, who is a literary agent, even provides writing exercises to assist your imagination to take flight. Once your novel is finished there’s advice on literary agents, publishing houses, etc… The book is incredibly easy to read and you feel like you’re actually talking with the author. Should Writing Great Books For Young Adults be the only book you read on this topic? No. But it’s a good addition for your shelf of other writing books.
Can you imagine your worst nightmare? For Ivy Jensen it’s the constant fear that the killer who murdered her parents six years ago and got away, will find her. For Parker Bradley it’s sea serpents. For the other five essay “winners” it’s a myriad of terrors. The contest is sponsored by horror maverick Justin Blake who promises the seven fans a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at his latest project if they face their nightmares and survive a two day stay at the Dark House. Once the contestants arrive things are already strange. One of the group has disappeared leaving only a warning behind for the others. Their hostess is a dead ringer for one of Blake’s movie serial killers. And then there’s the Nightmare Elf, Blake’s most well known creation, lurking around threatening to collect their dreams. Trust me, this is not a good thing. Who, if anyone will survive? Well, I now have an elf phobia, (except for Legolas) to go with my fear of clowns. And I literally did have a nightmare after reading this book in one day. Ahh. The sign of a truly good horror novel. The characters at first seem like the cliched type that you see so much of in horror movies geared towards teens, but once you get their backstories you discover they’re a little more complex. The chapters alternate between them but in no way does this make things confusing or hard to follow. They’re also short and the book is a very quick read. The ending will drive you crazy so if you decide to read this book pray that Laurie is finishing the sequel. NOW! I highly recommend this to fans of YA horror books and movies. You will not be disappointed.
Holy Bionic Ballerina, Batman! With all the superhero books flooding the market, some soar, and some go, well, splat. The Brokenhearted flies sort of in the middle. Anthem Fleet should be the epitome of a happy teen girl. She lives in the privileged North Side of Bedlam City, her parents are successful developers who are on first name basis with all the most important business people and politicians, and Anthem herself is a prima ballerina. No one realizes she is feeling stifled and needs to escape until she breaks up with her gorgeous, popular, but potentially psychotic boyfriend and starts dating Gavin, who lives on the South Side which is home to the poor and the criminals who prey upon them. One night while Anthem and Gavin are at his apartment, he is kidnapped by three masked villains, and Anthem is told if she wants him to live she needs to get a hold of $250,000 for ransom. Desperate, and running home she falls off a bridge into the frigid water below. When she awakens she is told by her rescuer Ford and a renegade doctor that she had died and the only way to revive her was to replace her heart with one made from a hummingbird’s heart and mechanical parts. Anthem soon discovers that she is now developing super abilities like incredible speed, strength, and even flying. Will she be able to rescue Gavin with her new powers? First the bad parts. I liked Anthem, but she made some unbelievably questionable decisions, even for her age. Even more incredulously, her bodyguard Serge actually assists her. It didn’t really make sense. Bedlam City is obviously modeled after Gotham City where you have your model, upstanding citizens, the poor that they look down their noses at, and the sort of clownish, and at times not very bright villains. I didn’t mind this, because Amelia Kahaney manages to give her story a sense of uniqueness. There are a couple of big twists. One I had already been counting on, the other, at the end totally caught me by surprise. I will definitely read the sequel Invisible, which is coming out on Oct. 7th. I don’t have a problem recommending this. I would just advise you borrow The Brokenhearted at your local library instead of purchasing it.
Annabel Lee has recently lost her mother and has now left her beloved Siam where they lived with a missionary group, to go stay with her grandfather and father. Her grandfather welcomes her with open arms. Her father unfortunately treats her with nothing but scorn. Annabel’s grandfather tries to reassure her that his behavior has nothing to do with her, but rather the painful afflictions he suffers from as a result of Typhus he picked up abroad. Yet when Annabel researches the disease, she discovers her father’s symptoms do not match. There’s also the rumor that as a once respected Dr. he has been disgraced. Then there’s all the other mysteries surrounding the family. The horrific murders taking place in the nearby village. The men who guard the perimeter of their house, and bring her father strangely shaped bags of who knows what late at night. Why are the servants so frightened, and what about his two assistants? Sweet, good looking Allen Poe who is very interested and concerned about Annabel. He also writes incredible, albeit macabre poetry. And Edgar, a physically and psychologically nastier, rougher version of Allen. And of course Annabel has a few secrets herself. I was quite excited when I received this ARC from NetGalley. First, because I’m a huge Poe enthusiast. Second, because I loved Jessica Verday’s Hollow trilogy. I have to say though I was disappointed in this latest. First, at under 300 pages, it’s quite short and although from the ending it’s clear there will be a sequel, it was very abrupt. The combination gave me a sense of unfulfillment. I also felt that Annabel was a likeable but rather bland character. None of the others really stood out either. Not even Edgar or Allen. I thought the premise held so much promise with it’s combining Edgar Allen Poe and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but that promise was never truly realized. I hate to say this, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel.
Thanks to NetGalley I read the preview last night and I just have to say Atlantia is on my top ten Fall books I can’t wait to come out! The premise is there are two worlds: Below which is an underwater world protected from the water so humans can breath. It’s sort of described as this exotic hub which has tentacles that reach out. There are temples, houses, markets, roads, everything. Then there is Above, where people volunteer to go to make sure that Below gets supplies and everything it needs to survive. This is a big sacrifice because supposedly Above is filled with pollution and life expectancy is much shorter. The main gist of the story looks like it will be centered around two twin sisters, Rio and Bay. Their father died awhile ago and their mother just died under strange circumstances on the doorstep of their mysterious aunt. Once a year, there is the ceremony where you allowed to choose to remain Below, or sacrifice yourself and go Above. Rio has always wanted the latter, but now that they’re alone, Bay makes her promise they’ll stay together Below. Then Bay mysteriously sacrifices herself leaving Rio alone Below, that is except for their aunt who is a siren like Rio which in this world is not a desirable thing to be. This preview has so many teasers! Why was the twins’ mother rushing to see her sister before she died when they hadn’t spoken for years? Why has Bay betrayed her sister when they have such a close relationship? Why does the aunt now want to mentor Rio and help her escape up to Above? Ahhh!!! I can’t believe this isn’t coming out until the end of October! Based on this preview I would definitely recommend you place a hold at your local library, or you pre-order your book or ebook online now.
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Uncaged is the first book in a new YA series featuring teen brother and sister Odin & Shay Remby. The first book picks up with Shay looking for her missing brother who is a computer genius, but mildly autistic. She tracks him to Hollywood where she discovers he has joined a radical animal rights group called Storm. They break into facilities who are using animals for research and release them. This time however they’ve taken on the wrong people. The Singular Corporation is not the benevolent medical research company it claims to be. They are also not only doing inhumane research on animals. Odin escapes with one of their projects and Singular will do anything to get him back and hide the truth. I thought this was a pretty good start for a new series. The characters were interesting. Shay was strong, fearless, and, imaginative. And I especially liked the enigmatic Twist who becomes Shays mentor. The story was incredibly fast and a bit uneven in spots. When I first started reading it I was bouncing from person to person so quickly it was a bit confusing, but the strong plot drew me in so it gradually became less so. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to younger YAs. It has alot of violence in it. And animal lovers beware. It’s also extremely graphic. Otherwise I would recommend this to fans of high octane adventures